There’s big news on two of my nerd fronts simultaneously. Lego announced its results for the current batch of Lego Ideas entries, and it’s something of a surprise.
I’ll talk about that in a second, but first let’s talk about Lego Ideas. Lego Ideas, nee Cuusoo, is a thing where fans can suggest Lego sets and themes and then vote on the ones they’d like to see become reality. If the idea gets 10,000 votes, Lego looks at it and considers making it for reals.
Let’s look at the top vote getters in this batch. These are projects suggested by Lego fans which garnered 10,000 votes to be produced.
Notice anything about that array? Every one of them, other than the Hubble Space Telescope, is a licensed property. In fact, three of them are from people who feel that the Star Wars license is being under-served by Lego and could use more.
Now, I grant you that Lego Ideas is primarily of interest to older builders who are looking for “collectibles” rather than toys. If one wants a Lego TARDIS console, it can be built; that’s sort of the raison d’etre of Lego. The primary audience for Lego Ideas seems to be casual Lego fans who just want to see something they already like be Lego. When I’ve seen projects on Lego Ideas that appeal to builders, they languish. A vote for, say, a Lego 12 Years a Slave set is a vote for 12 Years a Slave that happens to be taking place on a Lego site. Lego could make money just by creating solid one-piece statues of known properties with a “Lego” look to them instead of bothering to make them actual sets. (I should fairly point out that there have been a number of non-licensed Lego Ideas sets.)
Nevertheless, next time someone out there is bellyaching about the tragedy of licensed Lego sets, it may be useful to remind them that, given the whole of imagination to work with, many Lego fans seem to want to build things they already know. And Lego is more than happy to sell it to them. This doesn’t change the fact that there are still plenty of unbranded Lego sets, and also there are still just the “regular” bricks you can buy and if that’s still not enough imagination for you you can go buy a bag of sugar cubes and let your muse run wild.
Alternatively, if you don’t care about sets as sets, there’s good news! Branded sets cost pretty much the same as non-branded ones, are 100% compatible, and can be used to build whatever you want, myths of “special pieces” notwithstanding. Lego is Lego and it all builds.
So, as for the Doctor Who set itself, this is quite puzzling, as there’s already an expansive line of Doctor Who Lego-compatible building brick toys going strong. I’m not sure how this sort of thing will work.
In discussions I’ve seen people are getting crazy excited about this, to the point where I’ve witnessed folks demanding a Turlough mini-fig, which is something that I have a hard time imagining even Turlough would want. Lego hasn’t announced a Doctor Who line, they’ve announced a Doctor Who set. Could it maybe turn into a line, as the Minecraft thing did? I don’t know, but Minecraft did not have an existing contract with a different company. I think it’s highly likely that we’re looking at a one-shot thing, probably featuring a TARDIS with interior, 12th Doctor, Clara, and maybe a Dalek or Cyberman. Much as I may want to see a Lego Taran Beast, I think that’s probably not in the cards.
Will I get it? I absolutely will get it.